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Local Sheriff officers arrest suspect in national golf cart theft case

Nathan R Nelson, age 45, of Ruskin Florida, was arrested by local Sheriff officers here in Seminole County in connection with the theft of “numerous” golf carts in several states including the Dakotas and Minnesota.

On June 11th, Seminole County Sheriff officers Sergeant Jim Shingler and Deputy Justin Henry received a call from the owner of Lake Seminole’s Fins and Feathers, located on County Road 374, of a bicycle parked along the fence. 

Upon investigation, the officers found shoe tracks that led from the bicycle along the dirt road leading to the Dixie Sales Golf Cart Shop.  They discovered that the fence surrounding the Dixie Sales property had been cut.  

The officers then received another call from the property owner, who stated he had observed a white Dodge truck leaving the area. Sgt. Shingler spotted the vehicle and stopped the truck at Cypress Pond Landing. The driver was identified as Nelson.

Sgt. Shingler requested and received permission to search the truck.  Officers discovered a pair of wet boots, which matched the boot print tracks located earlier, bolt cutters, blank golf cart keys, a label maker, and several serial number labels for golf carts.  

Nelson was placed under arrest and the case was turned over to the Sheriff’s Office investigative division for follow up.  Locally Nelson was charged with two counts of criminal trespass, two counts of criminal attempt to commit theft, and computer forgery.  Nelson was released to federal agents on June 16th. 

An FBI affidavit says Nathan Rodney Nelson can be linked to 63 golf cart thefts in seven states since 2017. Nelson is charged with transporting stolen vehicles across state lines.

According to court documents, the investigation began two years ago when the Cass County (North Dakota) Sheriff’s Office asked the FBI to help investigate a series of thefts of at least 70 golf carts from golf courses in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Investigators noticed that the golf carts were typically stolen at night and in pairs from Midwestern golf courses. The stolen carts were driven away from clubhouses to an adjacent location, where a getaway vehicle was waiting.  Some of the carts were stolen from the Maple River Golf Course in Mapleton and All Season Motorsports in West Fargo, where an employee noticed that a golf cart which was brought in for service had two different serial numbers.

The FBI says it’s been combing through theft reports from golf courses in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Louisiana. The value of the stolen golf carts exceeds $283,000.

Investigators also say Nelson used the alias “Mason Weber” to rent self-storage units “presumably to store the stolen golf carts” in several states. Nelson has addresses in Mankato and Apollo Beach, Fla.

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